Weekend visit pays off for Illinois basketball with Frazier commit


Charlotte Carroll

Illinois basketball commit Trent Frazier explores Quad Day on Sunday.

By Matt Gertsmeier, Illini hoops columnist

Illinois head basketball coach John Groce seemed to have pulled out all the stops in order to land four-star guard Trent Frazier.

And it paid off with Frazier making a verbal commit at the conclusion of his official visit last weekend.

Throughout the weekend, Frazier was spotted meeting with head football coach Lovie Smith, shadowing Illini basketball director of player development Dee Brown, playing forward Malcolm Hill in a game of one-on-one and strolling through Quad Day.

The addition of Frazier to Groce’s recruiting class of 2017 adds much needed point guard depth for the Illini. With DaMonte Williams already committed, Frazier is the second point guard in the 2017 recruiting class.

After this season, the Illini will be without point guards Tracy Abrams and Jaylon Tate.

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There’s a strong chance Frazier will be called on during his freshman year to contribute for the Illini.

Illinois can look forward to Frazier’s ability to score off the dribble. His explosive speed and nifty ball-handling skills will give the Illini the opportunity to push the tempo and run the floor.

Frazier, a southpaw, is also equipped with a smooth stroke and isn’t afraid to light it up from downtown. The Illini shot about 36 percent from deep last season and averaged 22 three-point attempts a game. Frazier will be another solid scoring option on a team that has typically relied on perimeter shooting under Groce.

Highlight tapes of Frazier also demonstrate his ability to see the floor and find the open man. Frazier’s speed to blow by defenders will create opportunities for big men Michael Finke, Leron Black and five-star class of 2017 recruit Jeremiah Tilmon to slip into the paint.

One area Frazier and Illinois coaches will want to work on is his strength and build. Standing at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, Frazier will be undersized compared to most Big Ten guards.

The Illini will already likely be playing small in the 2017 season, with Mike Throne Jr. and Maverick Morgan graduating in 2016 and Tilmon the lone big man recruit for the class of 2017 thus far. It couldn’t hurt for Frazier to get bigger so he can hang with some of the bigger guards in the conference.

But before Frazier starts playing basketball in orange and blue, he’ll play his final year wearing white and blue for Wellington High School. Frazier won a state championship during his sophomore season.

The class of 2017 has improved greatly with the addition of Frazier. Two scholarships remain and Groce has the potential to create one of Illinois’s greatest freshman classes.

Matt is a junior in Business.

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Editor’s note: This column was edited lightly for grammar post-publishing.